So What is LGBT anyway?

What it isn’t is a package TV and internet deal between LG and British Telecom! I genuinely had someone believe that to be the case. There are some of you who will have no idea what it stands for and some of you that are being taught to suck eggs. LGBT (there are variations on this) is a term used to define a community, it stands for Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender.


Okay so here is where it gets a little complex. Most people are pretty comfortable with the term LGBT. It covers nicely people’s sexuality. But when it gets complex is when the term is extended to include gender identity. The vast array of different genders mean that if you were to include them all then the acronym used would be some 60 letters long! And frankly who is remembering that? Unless you Rain Man!

So what are the different genders?

If you’re an older person you may think that gender simply pertains to what equipment you are born with. That is your sex, and even that can be complicated! People are sometimes born with undeveloped sex organs or both sex organs! It really is complex. But gender is a more recent construct and is to do with a lot more than mere plumbing! Gender is not about what sex you were born into but is a social concept about how you identify.

Some people feel they were born in the wrong body. So this is where the idea of transgender comes to the fore. Some people who were born with a penis feel they are female, some people born with a vagina feel they are male and some people don’t identify as either or some with both! And then there are people who are gender fluid so they flit between the two.

What this isn’t

So some people may claim that this is just people wanting attention. I mean, sure sometimes human beings are crying out for attention. It is a perfectly human thing to do. However, this is not the case with the majority of people. More often than not people feel like they don’t belong in the body they were born with. The current term for people who are perfectly happy with the sex they were born with is CIS-gender. But the “non-binary” genders are just as valid.

However, there is a vast range of sub-genres and the usefulness of these is debatable. In fact, some of the more niche genders may do more harm than good by unnecessarily muddying the waters. Case in point is the notorious “attack helicopter” meme. This, of course, will make life more difficult for genuine transgender folk who already face criticism. Gender fluid seems to comfortably encompass anything that isn’t covered by a male, female, neutral and bigender.

Are attitudes changing towards the LGTBQ+ community?

Yes, but not as much as they should be. Especially in education. Growing up gay is still a tough gig. Homophobic bullying is rife in schools, from the casual use of the word “gay” as a generic derogatory term – to people being physically bullied for their sexuality. Reportedly as many as 50% of people who identify as LGBT have self-harmed due to the adverse effect of bullying due to their orientation.

Terms that aren’t really considered okay any more

Tranvestite – transgender is the preferred term.
Homosexual – it may seem strange that term is frowned upon, but due to its scientific nature, the connotations are that being gay is a medical condition.


Language Evolves

In the same way, as the above terms have become negative, oddly queer, which was considered a slight is now an acceptable term once more.

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